Although the official vote won't take place until Dec. 19, the gave its unofficial blessing Monday to a 2-cent gas tax hike and a half-cent sales tax increase to help resolve a $1.8 million budget deficit.
The gas tax would double to 4 cents per gallon under the proposal made by Village Administrator Brian Murphy, generating $360,000 in new annual income. The village's portion of the sales tax would increase from 1 percent to 1.5 percent on every dollar spent, and will push the total sales tax amount from 7.75 percent to 8.25 percent, he said.
If approved, Plainfield would be about on par with what's charged in Bolingbrook and Romeoville. Bolingbrook has a 5 cent gas tax and Romeoville's is 4 cents; both have a 1.5 percent sales tax.
In recommending these tax increases, Murphy rejected that had been on the table, including an increase in the utility tax and the establishment of new liquor and food/beverage taxes.
Under Murphy's plan, some home and business owners will also see a small increase in their property taxes, depending whether their property’s equalized assessed valuation has gone up, down or stayed the same.
Every year, government bodies must approve a tax levy, which is essentially the amount of money it asks the Will County treasurer to collect on its behalf through property taxes. The levy amount must be approved before the end of the year.
Murphy has proposed keeping the levy dollar amount – $5.36 million – the same as last year. As a result, the tax rate will increase from about 40 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation to about 43 cents. Were the increase not made and the tax rate kept at 40 cents, the village would collect $250,000 less than last year – a loss that contributed to the $1.8 million deficit.
If a property owner’s equalized assessed valuation has decreased, it’s possible the property tax he or she pays to the village will stay about the same or drop slightly. If their property’s value has not changed or has gone up, there will be a small increase, Murphy said.
Murphy said the owner of a $300,000 home whose property value has stayed the same would likely pay about $23 more a year.
In the big picture, the amount that business and home owners pay in village property tax is only about 5.38 percent of their overall property tax bill.
claims the biggest amount, about 64.28 percent. The Plainfield Fire Protection gets 11.44 percent, Will County gets 9.04 percent, Joliet Junior College gets 3 percent, Plainfield Park District gets 2.59 percent and Plainfield Public Library District gets 2.08 percent. The remaining 2.19 percent goes to Plainfield Township and/or other taxing bodies, depending on the districts in which the property’s located.
Trustee Jim Racich said that the village has done a good job at keeping a lid on costs, especially given that the tax collected funds everything from police protection to street repairs to community development.
“What you get for the little money you pay, it’s a bargain,” Racich said. “We have to pay for what we’re getting, and it’s not that big of an increase.”
The changes are to needed to balance the 2012-13 budget, which kicks in on July 1, 2012. No start date for the proposed gas and sales tax increases was discussed.